#dontbuydenova: The Saga Continues

dontbuydenovaDeNova Homes followed through as scheduled, we had a three man crew at our home April 26 and 27 to start working on our punch list (catch up on the continuing sage, here). Many items on the list were paint related, but the overall finishing was very poor quality, appearing to be a rush job by some low bid contractor. Rumor has it that contractor was no longer painting homes in the Apsen development.

Now a month later and we have yet to see or hear back from Kevin, the warranty manager or DeNovaHomes on the rest of our list. This doesn’t come as a surprise, neighbors have similar complaints when I speak to them. Yes, I understand there are other developments, hopefully other owners who are as pissed off as we are when it comes to their new home. What we have seen appeared to a step in the right direction, not enough to give DeNova Homes kudos for making us happy to have purchased one of their homes.

While not the typical way to get things done, my wife has been texting Kevin regarding ongoing issues since last month. The next warranty date on the schedule is the 90 day warranty. While the remaining items on my list will be carried over, I don’t expect much movement from DeNova to resolve any of them. Some of the current list items addressed, such as paint on the carpet remain, worse we now have discolored spots from someone attempting to clean the carpet. *shakes head*

I don’t fear what I visually see, poor finishing, poor paint, hinges and door hardware with paint over them, a used front door repainted to match our home. It’s what I can’t see that worries me. So far we have ran into two ceiling fans that were wired incorrectly and installed improperly. Had the fans been wired correctly, the probability of the fans falling from the ceiling were high, so said an electrician who properly installed and wired the units nearly a month after we moved in. The other electrical issue was an outlet wired backwards in the closet, which housed the smart panel.

This past Friday, I walked outside to grab a craft beer from the Coyote 21″ outdoor refrigerator. Upon opening the unit, warm water pooled on the bottom and all the beer was warm, the fridge had stopped working. Frustrated, I swore up a storm at not having cold beer, but more so because this is just another problem we now must face. The temporary solution, as I wait for an answer from DeNova, which I highly doubt will come Tuesday, was to move the beer into a ice filled cooler.

mini_fridgeUpon closer inspection, after moving the fridge out from under the counter, the installation looked sketchy at best. What appeared out of place was an orange 3-outlet adapter plugged into the outlet. This was how I found the refrigerator powered, connected to this adapter.

Out of curiosity, I consulted the owner’s manual and went through the installation and troubleshooting guide.  Reading through the installation two items stood out under ‘WARNING’: “The refrigerator should not be located next to ovens, grills or other sources of high heat. The refrigerator must be installed with all electrical, water and drain connections in accordance with state and local codes. A standard electrical supply (115 V AC only, 60 Hz), properly grounded in accordance with the National Electrical Code and local codes and ordinances is required.”

While I am not an electrician, I consulted a respected friend who is and asked him, “Is this to code?” His response wasn’t surprising, “No. That wire should not be ran in the same hole as that pipe, the Romex is unprotected below 7 feet, this should have a box in the wall with sheet rock. Otherwise the installation should have been done in MC (metal clad cable) but still the wire needs it’s own hole.” This just emphasizes that fact that I fear living in the home because of what I cannot see.

I continued on and started troubleshooting. Just as the image illustrates, I found the unit still plugged in, so I ruled that out. I confirmed the BBQ lit using the electric starter, as both are plugged into the same outlet. I reset the circuit breaker, tripping out both breakers labelled ‘kitchen’ but to no avail, the refrigerator remained off. Finally, I did confirm the temperature control was set not set to the ‘OFF’ position.

Since there has been absolutely no movement on behalf of DeNova, I am ready to escalate our ongoing problems. The City of Oakley will be contacted on Tuesday regarding the possibility of a code violation by DeNova. After speaking to a high school friend of mine, who just happens to be an attorney, he will be receiving a copy of the purchase contract to see what legal avenues we could potentially pursue. I have started writing up a rough draft to Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side to see if the media would like to see get a piece of the action and expose DeNova for the poor quality control. Finally an e-mail to the owner of DeNova Homes, not that I expect any response or reaction, but more to prove DeNova fails when it comes to their “commitment to quality and integrity.”

Put Up or Shut Up

This is the week my wife and I have been waiting on since prior to closing escrow our new DeNova home. If you have following along, things haven’t gone well after writing our deposit checks and selecting our upgrades at their design center. Our initial walk through with the warranty manager was less than acceptable, which required a second walk through a week later, the result was still less than satisfactory. Many items on our punch list were not addressed or corrected and still more required repairs.

What we should have done suspended closing escrow and forced the hand of DeNova, but we were in a bind because of our move out date at the home we were renting. Begrudgingly, we signed the closing documents after talking it over with our realtor. We had a copy of the initial walk through signed by the warranty manager, which would allow some leverage to get something done.

Since closing I have sent 4 emails (read #1, read #2) requesting service, detailing all the current issues with accompanying images to show the flaws, unsatisfactory work and problems we want addressed. Their detailer did stop by however after a walk through with my wife, he felt the job was too big and would require a crew to fix the list of issues.

I feel everything I have wrote about DeNova is fair, even going as far to hashtag #denovahomes and #dontbuydenova. Some might consider me boarding crazy, but as of today, 38 days later only 2 out of 63 items have been addressed. Not sure how ANY company sees that as good customer service. Their canned responses on Twitter, their seemingly “don’t care” attitude speaks volumes. However, I am willing to give them one more chance to make right, which comes this week as the outstanding issues will be addressed.

Since that time my wife and I have spoke to some of neighbor, who, like us have recently moved in. Javier, across the street has some of the same issues we face, to date nothing has been accomplished by the warranty manager. In fact, he hasn’t been very easy to get a hold of, so the story goes. Next to us, Nate, met him last month and talked to him again on Sunday, inquiring about their walk through.

Like us and Javier, he hasn’t been impressed with DeNova Homes to date. The walk through yielded quite a bit of blue tape and some of the similar problems, such as fans and switches not working. He went as far to call DeNova and speak to some female manager, who drove out in her uber expensive Mercedes, but obviously didn’t know the details to his loan or closing information. It seems this is becoming a standard and poor practice as witnessed now by three separate families living within earshot of each other.

As I am reminded by my realtor, I must give DeNova a chance to fix the problems and have remained rather quiet. Still we continue to see more problems. There is some question as to the proper appliances in our kitchen. The range seems to be an updated piece, but the microwave and dishwasher are entry level pieces. This was brought forward by the warranty manager to my wife. None of the tile on the floors or our kitchen back splash were sealed. Huh? $5200 back splash and they can’t seal the grout? Did we not spend enough on it? Or like our list of discrepancies, it was missed.

To be honest I am not sure what it will take, to make me a happy homeowner. As of now, we haven’t enjoyed our home, it’s been a scene out of The Money Pit, with every day a nice item for our list. DeNova’s website talks about “quality and integrity” and even CEO, Dave Sanson is committed “to providing complete customer satisfaction.” Guess he hasn’t read my response on the DeNova Welcome Survey. Needless to say, it was not positive, nor was there anything I saw that represented “quality” or “integrity” and as a customer I am not satisfied…yet.

We are not asking for compensation or the moon. We are simply asking to fix our home, as it should have been prior to moving in. A punch list with 63 items tells me their quality control sucks! Nate echoed this sentiment to me as well during his walk through. We are well aware, as we were told by a DeNova representative, “you didn’t purchase a custom home.” Hopefully something positives comes out of this debacle by Friday. Not sure what a crazed homeowner will do when pushed to his limits.

#dontbuydenova

dontbuydenovaI’m consider a new banner for our new home, which is built by DeNova Homes out of Concord, California. As of today we have owned the home for 25 days and have a service request list that currently stands at 57 items (with a few more to be added on before our 30 day warranty window closes). To date, we have an electrician out, the GE repairman, twice and Carlos, described as “the detailer” by DeNova Homes. On Friday we FINALLY received some confirmation that our growing list of unacceptable items was acknowledged, receiving an email for a 30 day appointment.

Receiving this email was not without some concern, as NOTHING has been done by the developer in the first 25 days to address 55 of the 57 issues. Yet the email spoke of scheduled contractors between April 27 and April 29.

The purpose of the 30 day  inspection is to view anything new that has been discovered after moving in. Seeing as how you have already created a list of items we can bypass the inspection on Tuesday as I am currently in the process of scheduling Carlos along with several other subcontractors to complete  repairs on April 27th through the 29th. Leading up to that date I will email you a list of all the subcontractors scheduled along with their arrival timeframes. If you should happen to discover anything new prior then please let me know and I will add it to the list of repairs.

This is a bit disconcerting, since it will be 11 days past our 30 day warranty window. “Adding it to the list” doesn’t necessarily mean it will be corrected. Such as my master bathtub, pony wall or newel post as the top of the stairs. While I am still reading all the “fine print” we have listed our problems and communicated them to DeNova Homes before 30 days, based on what I have read they are responsible to make the necessary repairs. While the email sounds positive, I am of the belief some of the problems won’t be address, such as the e-stone around the master bathroom tub, which has been an issue before we provided the developer with a closing date.

Since that time DeNova’s silence has only infuriated us to the point of seeking legal council, contacting the local media, who is “on your side” and communicating the “I don’t care” attitude we have received to the owner of the company. Hell, I think we might purchase a bright red banner with yellow words:

banner

Wonder if this would get the attention of DeNova Homes? More important, I hope it would make prospective buyers think twice before spending their hard earned money with this developer, especially at Emerson Ranch in Oakley. The entire experience has been very disheartening and frustrating, as days go by and nothing is resolved. My wife and I still have not had a chance to actually enjoy our purchase, relax or hold a house warming party.

To date. it’s been 3 service request emails, the last detailing our displeasure in finding out the ceiling fans were installed improperly and wired wrong. If the fans were turned on with proper wiring, there was a good chance the rotation of the blades would have brought the ceiling fan crashing down onto the couch in the great room. Bad thing would have been someone could have been severely injured or killed. DeNova Homes has not commented on this. This is the sort of “craftsmanship” we have seen since taking ownership this home.

In my opinion, there is no excuse for the sort of challenges we have faced since the keys were placed in my hand. Many of the discrepancies I have brought to their attention are punch list items, but based on our dealings with DeNova to date, I don’t feel some of them are going to be addressed. I could be wrong and maybe I should give them the benefit of the doubt, but won’t. As each day rolls by we look at our house and yard and those on our streets. It appears that the finishing work was rushed because there was not enough time to do the job properly.

Friends and co-workers are continually asking how we like our new home and many are surprised by our response. It’s getting to the point, the frustration and disappointment aren’t worth the price of the home and we want to move! Expectations were not exceeded, they weren’t even close to being met by the builder. As my wife was told, “you didn’t buy a custom home.” Talk about a slap in the face, but it will be their reputation as a builder that will take the hit because of our home buying experience.

I still won’t give DeNova Homes a favorable review. It was nothing more than smoke and mirrors up front that convinced us that Emerson Ranch as “a place of a different pace” as it is advertised. It’s different alright, the developer moves at s slow pace to resolve any issues found in your new home. If you are considering buying a DeNova Home, I suggest you consider an alternative because this developer has done nothing to win us over since we took ownership, we are just another number to them.

DeNova: Second Service Request

lincolnlogsIt’s been a challenging 11 days as a new homeowner since closing escrow with HomeStreet Bank, funny but funding has been easy. Dealing with the developer, DeNova Homes hasn’t been up to our expectations. The process started in January when considered if it was time to buy, coming off a foreclosure was rough but financially we were in a good position. A few weeks of looking through the MLS and visiting a few homes with our realtor, John Canning of Canning Dream Homes, we found Aspen by DeNova Homes, a new planned community in Oakley.

Impressed by what we initially saw, my wife and I discussed our options and decided to put a deposit down on a new home. This was exciting for both of us, but we quickly shifted that deposit to a larger model in order to have a larger backyard. The honeymoon with DeNova Homes ended before we even closed escrow. Every few days, we would stop by, talk to Kelly and Wendy and walk our home to see the progress being made. We kept hearing, “well the house isn’t done, so those problems won’t be there when you do your pre-inspection before closing. Uh huh, sure.

About a week before closing, I posted about a do over with DeNova Homes, as there were many problems still existing that would potentially delay our closing. On our inspection walk with the warranty manager, my wife blue taped MANY items in nearly every area of the home, you would think he was paint the interior blue with all sorts of problems, much of which were finishing items. Lots of paint issue, attention to detail, dirty, razor blades, nails and screws in the house, garage and yard, which posed a safety hazard. Frustration had set in.

The warranty manager had his crew come out and attempt to fix the plethora of issues my wife had tagged. Many of those blue pieces of tape were removed, some of the issues resolved, but many of our main concerns were never addressed. Major items, such as the paint, the master bathroom tub and newel post were noted on a signed form from the warranty manager as things that would be fixed. This before we even closed! To date, none of it has been resolved. After discussion with our realtor and the understanding from the developer our concerns would be addressed, we closed escrow.

In hindsight, we should of held onto our money and delayed the closing and forced DeNova Homes to resolve the outstanding problems. Unfortunately, our hands were tied with the rental company, as I had given a 30 day notice and a final day we would vacate their home.

Our current complaint list stands at 57 items, much of which are cosmetic, but does include some major items, all of which hasn’t been addressed. Yesterday a second service request was sent:

DeNova Homes,
While there has been no resolution to any of the 37 previous items in our initial service request sent 3/21/16, detailer, Carlos did stop by last Wednesday and my wife provided him a laundry list of items of outstanding items in our new DeNova Home. I believe the only issue that was partially resolved was the picking up of debris (listed 006 in my first email) from the front and backyard. We were told Carlos would return with a crew near the end of our 30 day warranty to resolve paint issues, which has me worried many of these items could fall by the wayside. We continue to see or hear no further action on the remaining items listed.
Since my first e-mail we have added 16 more items to our expanding list of unacceptable items. We have remote controls for light/fan in our great room and master bedroom that do not work. The fan does not spin, the light does not work, hasn’t since we moved in. The GFI outlet and lighting in the downstairs bathroom tripped numerous times on my wife with only a hair dryer going. I believe it’s wired incorrectly if the light is tripping. The latest issue, a leaking GE dishwasher. Every time we load and start the washer, we get a pool of water just beneath and under the dishwasher. Our concern now is the potential for black mold and real potential issues! As of last night we have unfortunately discontinued the use of our GE dishwasher until repairs are made or dishwasher is replaced.
There is still concern over the condition of the scratched touch control pad and dent from someone attempting to remove the plastic, protective coating. Not to mention the cabinets continued to rub from continued opening and closing. We are beginning to feel we own a DeNova lemon and not happy with our decision to purchase. Hopefully problems will be resolved or we will escalate our concerns.
As for the additional service items we are requesting, they are as follow (see attached zip file):
038. Upstairs bathroom door hits towel rack before door stopper
039. Medicine cabinet shelf dirty and dented
040. Medicine cabinet cracked, dented and dirty
041. Towel bar master bathroom has paint on it
042. Bathroom with another painted hole
043. Newel post damage, was never repaired to new condition (Carlos supposedly fixing this sometime)
044. Wall damage on the stairwell
045. More missing paint on the stairwell
046. Many light switch face plates covered with paint from the walls
047. Paint on the carpet, common through entire house
048. Bug smashed near the top of the ceiling in the entry way, was there when we moved in
049. Front door lock/handle white overspray, brown paint on it
050. Front door with a very poor paint job, notice streaks in door
051. Front door windows, lacking any quality control
052. More dangerous debris in control, most of which removed before we had our child or animals injured
053. Hanging kitchen light dented, still not replaced
 054. Fan/light in the living room doesn’t work
055. Fan/light master bedroom doesn’t work
056. GE dishwasher leaking water at the base of unit
057. GFI outlet possibly wired incorrectly, as light and outlet trip with hair dryer was in use.
There are no images for items 54, 55, 56 and 57. The list continues to grow and even with Carlos and a crew coming back (no date I am aware of), owning this home is really beginning to feel like it was a mistake closing escrow before our problems were addressed because it appears as if the home was rushed in order to get us in and get our money. I understand sub contractors are at fault, but the reputation of DeNova Homes continues to plummet.. Maybe this is an “isolated” case but we can’t be the only new owners who have experienced this lack of quality in their new home. Hopefully there will be some resolution to all the issues we continue to face before the 30 day warranty period.
As of Monday morning we have not received any response from DeNova Homes. As per their earlier communication, our service requests were being forwarded to the warranty manager. We have 20 days until the 30 day warranty window closes, hopefully we see a positive response real soon.

DeNova: Service Request

tomhanksIt’s been just over a week we have owned our home and the disappointment and frustration continue. There have been many supporting our stance on social media, but some have questioned why we went through with the close of escrow if noted problems were not addressed. Arguments can be made on both sides, but I went on a recommendation and we decided to get into our new home and use DeNova Home’s service request to rectify our outstanding issues.

Earlier this week I sent an email to DeNova Homes to address outstanding issues with our new Aspen home. It read:

DeNova Homes,

 
Disappointed doesn’t begin to describe the feelings we have towards to craftsmanship and finishing on our new Aspen home. Not only did we have one, but two inspections with Kevin, which seems to only have scratched the surface of the problems we have encountered the first 7 days in our new home. Much of the blue tape place was removed after our walk through, but the problems remained, with my wife finding balled up blue tape in cabinets and doors after we moved in.
 
As I mentioned in my previous e-mail and noted mentioned to Kelly and Wendy, prior to closing, the e-stone in the master bathroom is unacceptable! I understand we had the opportunity to over pay for tile in this area, unfortunately when we were dealing with the sales office, we never saw a standard bathroom in any of the models before we made our decision to buy. If we knew the e-stone would overhang the actual bathtub, not be cut straight and have poor caulking, rest assured I would have spent money to have tile put in. One of the e-stone walls had a chip in it during our first walk through, which was noted during the inspection with Kevin. The following walk through it appeared as if the enter wall was cut and shortened to remove that chip and now it does not match the other two walls.
 
It also appears as the house was never cleaned before we took ownership, if it was, then my 10 year could have done a better job cleaning the house. Dirt, dust, sawdust and many nails, screws and razor blades have been found in MANY parts of the yard and home.
 
The following is the first list of items we have seen in just 7 days in our new DeNova Homes. Hopefully they are all corrected to our satisfaction, because right now I am having buyer’s remorse having spent nearly $500,000 on a new home. Attached is a zip file detailing each item listed below by number.
Attached to this email was a list of 37 items we noted as “outstanding” many of which were issues BEFORE we closed and were promised they would be fixed based on inspection worksheet signed by the warranty manager. To highlight these items I sent them 37 images to go along with each problem. The response to our service request was a bit disheartening:

Good Afternoon Steven,

We are currently reviewing your recent email as well as the attached pictures. I will get back to you once I’ve had a chance to discuss these issues with my management team.

In the meantime, I would like to schedule my detailer Carlos for this Wednesday between the hours of 7:30 and 3:30 to complete all paint touch ups as well as multiple miscellaneous items.

Please let me know if he will have access.

As mentioned in my previous post, Carlos arrived early on last Wednesday. Escorted by my wife, they walked the home and pointed out items we feel should have been caught, if not corrected before close of escrow on March 17. Gone was the blue tape, replaced by green tape to denote areas that need attention. Needless to say there was quite a few pieces scattered through the house. Carlos agreed the paint was unacceptable, many walls, doors and trim either lacking a second coat of paint, but many runs and drips, as if the paint subcontractor didn’t care. Chances are they didn’t, guess I need to remember that.

Unfortunately due to the fact we had moved in a few days prior, Carlos couldn’t successfully accomplish the repair. He spoke to the warranty manager and explained the shortcomings and problems that existed. It was agreed he would come back with a crew to repair the outstanding issues before the 30 day period is over.

There has still been no further discussion on our master bathtub of the newel post at the top of the stairs. I am guessing DeNova Homes will try to slide it through as “standard” and “acceptable”, yet I feel they are making no headway if these major items continue to go unaddressed. I will give Carlos a chance to clean up a majority of the issues we reported last week. My wife will be the determining factor if the work is done to her satisfaction. Yet, if items on our list continue to fall by the wayside as we draw closer to our 30 day warranty, we will be forced to escalate our problems.